Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

The Journal Portal

Tune into the voice of the community by checking out DeviantArt's Journal Portal. Join the conversation by browsing, adding faves, and leaving comments, or submit your own Journal to let your voice be heard.

Submit Journal

55,505 Deviants Online
´ ▽ ` )ノ
ヽ(o`皿′o)ノ
(・∀・ )
( ̄(エ) ̄)
( ̄へ ̄)
(  ゚,_ゝ゚)
(ι´Д`)ノ
(・ェ-)
ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ)
щ(ಠ益ಠщ)
(ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
。◕ ‿ ◕。
ಠ_ಠ
( °٢° )
ʘ‿ʘ
ಥ⌣ಥ
ಥ‿ಥ
(ΘεΘ;)
(n˘v˘•)¬
(✪㉨✪)
ヽ(๏∀๏ )ノ
(╹ェ╹)
╮(─▽─)╭
щ(ಥДಥщ)
≖‿≖
(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
(⊙ヮ⊙)
ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ
ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ
( ಠ◡ಠ )
(•⊙ω⊙•)
‘︿’
( ´∀`)☆
(≧ω≦)
(´ー`)
(つд`)
( ̄。 ̄)
(*~▽~)
( ^▽^)σ)~O~)
(=゜ω゜)
(´ω`)
(ノ_・。)
(-_- )ノ
(´ヘ`;)
(^^;)
( ´∀`)
((((゜д゜;))))
(=ω=;)
(。・_・。)
(o´ω`o)
(^▽^)
(*´д`*)
( ̄□ ̄)
∩(︶▽︶)∩
(✿◠‿◠)
(◡‿◡✿)
(◕‿◕✿)
(✖╭╮✖)
(≧◡≦)
(¬_¬)
(◑‿◐)
(◕‿-)
✖‿✖
(-’_’-)
(╥_╥)
(╯_╰)
(╯3╰)
(o_-)
(¬‿¬)
(◣_◢)
(∪ ◡ ∪)
(≧ω≦)
o(≧o≦)o
(⋋▂⋌)
(॓_॔)
(╯ಊ╰)
(─‿‿─)
‹(•¿•)›
(╯︵╰,)
(︶︹︺)
(∩︵∩)
(。◕‿◕。)
(⊙_◎)
(~ ̄▽ ̄)~
(︶ω︶)
(+_+)
(。♥‿♥。)
(✿ ♥‿♥)
♥╣[-_-]╠♥
٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
٩(-̮̮̃•̃)۶
٩(̾●̮̮̃̾•̃̾)۶
٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶
٩(×̯×)۶
(∩▂∩)
(¬▂¬)
(╯◕_◕)╯
(╹◡╹)凸
(▰˘◡˘▰)
(☞゚∀゚)☞
ლ(╹◡╹ლ)
(✿◠‿◠)

Brian Kesinger: Character Driven

Wed Oct 22, 2014, 10:39 AM
1 by techgnotic






Disney Artist Brian Kesinger on Creating Story through Character










Foreword by techgnotic


It is with great pleasure we welcome BrianKesinger as a guest writer to the Today Page Editorial Team. Considering his authentic citizenship within the deviantART community, his thoughts and insights will be of great value to all aspiring artists, illustrators, writers and others involved in any creative endeavor. For over 18 years, Brian has worked for Walt Disney Studios on films like Big Hero 6, Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, Tangled, Wreck It Ralph and Bolt. Brian is author and illustrator of his own octovictorian creation, the wildly popular Walking Your Octopus, featuring Otto and Victoria, about a young turn-of-the-century London lady of distinction and her pet octopus.





















Take a moment and think about your favorite movie. Now imagine that movie without the main character, as you know them, in it. I think it is important to make a distinction between the plot of a story and the arc of your main character.








The plot is a series of events that result in a character going through an emotional arc. You can briefly define a character arc as how a character feels and acts at the beginning of the story versus how the feel and act in the end. In Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol (1843), Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas and at the end he loves it. That is an oversimplification of his arc. The plot is there in order to provide obstacles and choices to show the the audience who they are and what their attitude toward their situation is. A good plot keeps you interested in the story but a good character will make you want to rewatch the movie over and over again. I am personally a fan of movies that have very simple plots as those films leave much more room for character development.


One way to look at a story is a series of choices made in creating the main character. As a storyteller, the more time you put into your character, the easier it will be for you to make those choices for your character be truthful.







Truthfulness is talked about a lot when discussing character creation. Fictional characters are, of course, not real. They do not exist in the real world. They are made up. You must give them reality with relatable traits. Let’s say your main character is a farm hand. How does he feel about that? Does he enjoy the hard labor, or is he bored out of his mind? Let's choose the latter. Note that we are not talking about plot, just discussing character. Does this farm-boy get along with his parents? Let's add mystery by making him an orphan. So we now have the highly relatable story of a bored young man with a decision to make. Should he continue his duties on the farm or answer an inner calling to explore the rest of his world? We know this character. Some of us are this character. So when Luke Skywalker makes his choice, it rings true, because his character has already been established as someone we understand, someone who wants more out of life. We can all relate to his situation. His story will be a bit more exciting than most tales of fugitive farm-boys, but even Star Wars might have bored us had we not been pre-invested in such a relatable character by skilled storytellers.



As an illustrator, my job is to create believable characters. At Disney it is not uncommon for us to start drawing before a writer has even been hired to write a script. Animation and art are a visual media. A picture is worth a thousand words. Drawing your character is one of the best ways to kick off the generation of those words. It is all in the details. How your character dresses, what sort of hair they have, are they big or scrawny? All these questions can be answered and explored through the drawing process. When we work on our films it is common for the character designers and story artists to work at the same time because one department constantly informs the other.


I love this part of the process, as you draw your character and you explore all aspects of them and the ideas start to gel. You put one image next to another and suddenly a story starts to develop, to talk to you. It is very exciting. We had an interesting challenge in creating the character of Baymax for the up coming film Big Hero 6.


I asked Joe Mateo, head of story on the film to talk a little about the difficulties that arose when creating a character without traditional features.











We knew that Baymax was going to be a challenge given his limited amount of facial features to express an emotional range. It's amazing though, what you can achieve with those charming dot eyes combined with a subtle head tilt, a well timed blink, and body gestures. These things plus line delivery can be very effective in expressing different emotions. We're careful though how much emotions we want Baymax to show given that he is just a non sentient robot... or is he?”


Joe Mateo, Head of story on Big Hero 6






















On the film Frozen we were tasked with taking a fairy tale “princess movie” and putting a fresh spin on it. One way that we did that was by exploring the characters of Anna & Elsa and creating a believable relationship between the two of them. Paul Briggs, head of story on Frozen speaks more about that here.












One of the great things we had working for us was the tropes of princess films we had done in the past. Audiences already had an expectation we would deliver the familiar romantic love story... a romantic kiss from a prince/knight in shining armor would save the the day. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck knew they wanted to deliver something fresh and different and took the idea from the original Snow Queen story that "an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart" and coupled that with a story about two sisters. The movie really started to focus more about family love than romantic love. The challenge was crafting two siblings that couldn't have that love between one another. We had Elsa, who was hiding a power that she thinks will hurt or kill her sister. So she lives in fear and is afraid to share her love towards her sister. We developed Anna as being fearless but she lives in a world where we she wants to give her love but it is never reciprocated by her sister. She holds onto that true love for her sister though and it's ultimately the thing that saves the day and protects and saves her sister. Anna makes the biggest choice in the movie which is she sacrifices her life to save her sister—an act of true love.”


Paul Briggs, Head of story on Frozen




















Interviews Brian Kesinger's Q&A with the Following Deviant Artists








:iconbriankesinger:

In creating your Lost Kids graphic novel what were some ways that you made your characters believable teenagers even though they are inhabiting a fantastical world?






:iconfelipecagno:

Felipe Cagno


It's all about really turning your characters into real people, people that you could walk past in the streets and that means tons of research and world building. For every character in the Lost Kids comics I have these extensive character sheets with dozens of questions ranging from their family background, their homes, where they grew up in, the environment around them, to their biggest fears, their hopes and dreams, their psyche, etc.



All that comes into play and you must know your characters better than yourselves, you really must ask the tough questions and come up with interesting answers. A kid growing up in Brooklyn, NY, will most definitely talk and behave very differently than a kid growing up in Orange County, CA. Do they come from a rich family, a blue-collar one, from poverty, where do they go to school, are they outgoing or shy, do they use slang, or perhaps they speak perfect English, are they popular or outcasts, what are their deepest secrets and so forth.


And the most interesting task I had to go through was actually finding a way of these very different kids that should not get along, get together for this adventure. Good storytelling comes from conflict and there is nothing more boring than seeing characters agreeing on paper or screen, you want them to duke it out, you want them to have completely different opinions about the stuff that matters so you can exploit different points of view on a given subject and let the audience choose sides.


Believable teenagers have very strong opinions and views of their world, I just made sure to get all that right even before writing a word of the script.








:iconbriankesinger:

Can you talk a little about how your characters developed from random sketches to the storylines in your web comic?






:iconshingworks:

Der-shing Helmer



I don't actually sketch randomly and home storylines come out, it's pretty much the opposite... I come up with story elements that I find interesting and work to develop a character that might fit into the scenario in a unique way. For example, in The Meek, I wanted to write a story about a girl who doesn't care much for societal pressures. She started out in sketches as several types of girl, but with the goal of a story in mind, eventually developed in the my character Angora who is introduced as not wearing clothes (that portrayal is pivotal to her essential nature). I don't think the character would have been quite as effective if I had just been drawing naked women, and then tried to mould a story around that visual.


For the new comic that I am making (and will be posting more art of to deviantArt as well), I'm doing something similar; trying to create a certain vision of the future and the people who live there. With the future in mind, I get to create characters that represent my hopes and expectations, vs just randomly hoping to strike gold. My general advice is always to give a context to your sketches, even if you don't ultimately use them... it will help your characters develop into living people who feel like they might really exist somewhere.








:iconbriankesinger:

When creating your character Veloce Visrin, what were some of the choices you made in designing her look and outfit to help tell the reader what she is all about?






:iconshilin:

Shilin Huang



I've given Veloce outfits meant for show, as well as casual outfits for the story she is in. The more story-oriented decisions were made with her casual outfit. Naturally, her look should immediately convey her character, because insignificant details on how a character chooses to dress himself/herself are usually a good reflection of their values. I've kept her outfit casual and unimpressive,despite her being the main character, to match her preference for staying away from the spotlight and blending into the crowds. Her clothes are also kept loose fitting rather than skintight, her hair kept free and not diligently kept, giving her a more relaxed air. However, she did come from a respected/feared family, and a hint of the fact that she is supposed to be an upper-class lady still comes across through the halter top, which is the same top/dress featured in her other, more extravagant and impressive outfits, covered up under the guise of her hoodie and otherwise unassuming look.








:iconbriankesinger:

Your character drawings are so expressive. What are some tips for drawing animal characters with such human emotions while still maintaining their animalistic anatomy?






:icontracyjb:

Tracy Butler


Thank you! Foremost, I’d say it’s important to get to know the subject matter. Gathering some overarching observational knowledge about anatomy, gesture and expression is pretty vital to drawing convincing pictures of such things. It also applies to the ensuing Frankensteinian drawing experiments that I would recommend as a generally effective approach to designing characters that fall somewhere between human and animal (though I’d argue that distinction is mostly philosophical).  Do a lot of sketching, in other words.



Human capacity for self-aware emotional complexities aside, it’d be difficult to mark a clear distinction between human and animal emotions. Among other mammals in particular, there’s quite a lot of overlap in the way we express basic things like fear, dejection and excitement, in fact. Whether human or wolf, a lowered head, fixed stare and curled lip is unmistakably aggressive.  That sort of thing can certainly work to the artist’s advantage when drawing an animalistic character meant to emote in a relatable human fashion.  Further appending the expression with the animal’s telltale posturing - raised hackles, pinned ears, bared fangs - can be mixed in to varying degrees of bestial and dramatic.  The more minute facial features add a layer of human nuance and specificity - the smallest adjustment can put an entirely different spin on an expression. For the given example, downward angled “angry” eyebrows would be well in line with the straightforward appearance of aggression, but simply arching one of the brows higher than the other can turn it into an expression of calculated anger.  Symmetrically high arching brows could make the expression more excited or crazed; furrowed brows could be used to convey a sort of consternated anger, and so forth.



Of course, species that don’t communicate in ways that are especially decipherable to humans and critters with physiognomies that don’t lend themselves well to forming human expressions can present design challenges that might require some careful finagling. To use a popular example, note the dramatically shortened heads of My Little Pony characters as compared to realistic equine heads.  Much of the animal appearance of the face is sacrificed, clustering the features together into an alignment more closely resembling a (cartoon-like) human.  This way, the expressions are eminently readable, never inadvertently shifting from cute to awkward.  In other situations, preserving the animalistic mien might be the greater priority over rendering consistently appealing human expressions. If you ever find yourself trying to draw chagrin on an anteater, consider that in some cases, embracing a bit of the awkwardness might not be a bad thing.  It can make for some defining, memorable characteristics.


My advice overall is to approach whatever abstracted combination of anatomies are at hand as an advantage rather than a limitation to building an expressive character.  The human and animal aspects each bring a toolkit array of physical features, gestures, behaviors and idiosyncrasies to utilize and draw inspiration from - all the more resources with which the character may exude life and emotion, presence and personality.








:iconbriankesinger:

What led you to pick Korea as the location for your fish out of water story of frankie*SNATCH? And how does that specific location inform what situations your character goes through?






:iconlynseylew:

Lynsey Wo


When I initially came up with the concept for frankie*SNATCH back in 2001, I wanted to base it in a large, modern city in the Far East. At the time, Japan was experiencing a huge popularity boom (certainly within the target audience I was wanting to reach) and I wanted to avoid following that trend. After a little bit of research, Seoul seemed to contain the fast pace, bright lights, cosmopolitan scene I was looking for. In these early stages, a strong visual setting was all I was after, and Seoul fitted that need perfectly.



Frankie*SNATCH has always been a character-driven plot, and whilst the location had never been hugely influential as a whole, as the story developed darker, controversial issues, I still needed to make sure it was still appropriate. For example, a major theme of substance abuse within the story lead me to research the sort of healthcare and treatment available for those suffering with addictions, and how this sort of issue is perceived and handled by Korean society as a whole. This research directly impacted on how the character(s) confronting this issue would handle it, particularly from the societal angle. This idea of such an old-fashioned taboo against the backdrop of an otherwise modern, diverse city was something I found interesting, but it also made me realise the importance of making sure the characters were believable enough for them to address the issues presented to them with as little help from the outside as possible.












Questions for Brian Kesinger




  1. Brian has volunteered to answer any questions you might have in a series of video updates we will post soon, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for a shout-out from him.


    Leave your questions for Brian in the comments below.













There have always been a lot of writers on deviantART begging for more recognition. It's understandable that literature is given a lower priority: as I'm writing this, there are 3,280 "Writers" online, which compared to the 10,671 "Artists" is a relatively small community. So all of us writers whine about how we never get "the attention that we deserve." There are plenty of stamps declaring, "Writers are artists too!" and all that sort of thing. But we never really get anywhere.

Well let's get serious, people.

deviantART easily has the most impressive coding I've ever seen. And the latest updates of the message centre, notes and v7 were stunning. So much is possible; it's time to give writers the edge.

When deviantART's Portfolio feature was released, it stated:
"Some people ask if Portfolio supports Literature, Film or Flash Animations. Unfortunately these formats are not yet supported, but we are working hard to make sure to support these media in the future with presentation formats designed specifically to them."

deviantART, it is time for you to fulfill that promise.



The biggest problem with our cry for recognition is that we don't really know what we're asking for. In my opinion, the literature community is scattered and uncertain. Sure, we can say, "Create something special for us!" but if we don't know what we want, it certainly isn't going to happen.

So why don't we turn our focus to a concentrated effort in order to have our message heard?


Hovering Comments

by nycterent (DD given 2010-05-20)
Suggestion:Hovering Comments by nycterent

Anybody that's attempted to critique a piece of writing on deviantART knows the frustration of continually scrolling up and back down. A piece of writing isn't a picture, and can't be critiqued like one. This sophisticated style of commenting would encourage deviants to give detailed, professional critiques.


Chapters and Annotations

by JesseLax (DD given 2008-11-02)
Lit: Chapters + Annotation by JesseLax

One of the most stunning overhauls of the literature system: allow chapters to be linked together and annotations to be made on the text itself. Even if this idea as a whole is impossible, it has several concepts that would revolutionize the way deviants interact with literature deviations.


Literature Portfolios

by TheMaidenInBlack (DD given 2010-07-05)
Literature Portfolio v.1 by TheMaidenInBlack
As was previously mentioned, deviantART promised "presentation formats" specialized for literature. Many writers assumed that meant a portfolio designed specifically for them, yet it's been almost a year since portfolios were released and nothing has been created. While portfolios might not serve a writer in the same way as for artists and photographers, many deviants desire a clean and professional place to showcase their written work, as you can see in this poll.



As deviants, we've seen the deviantART community flourish and better itself day after day. With the Portfolio, the Prints system and v7, visual arts were supported and promoted in totally new and fantastic ways.
As writers, we've been waiting for a similar revolution for a while. Written art inevitably suffers without such professional-looking and well thought-out features.

As you saw from the poll, writers would be excited to see a more user-defined experience on deviantART. Many of them would advocate the development of new ways to showcase and highlight their work much like features assisting deviantART's visual artists.

So here we are, to give them a voice. A voice that is not "official" but is here nonetheless. This is a call for deviantART's writers to stand up and take a part in change, instead of blindly demanding new features without taking any actual action. We are here to show that we care; we are here to illustrate to you our very own ideas about how to develop the writing community.  

We are here to work together, as a community should, to see a much-needed feature be developed.

Will you be a part of it?
:bulletred::bulletorange::bulletyellow::bulletgreen::bulletblue::bulletpurple::bulletpink:
:star:On the following days, draw/write your OTP:

:bulletgreen:01 - Holding hands
:bulletgreen:02 - Cuddling somewhere
:bulletgreen:03 - Gaming/watching a movie
:bulletgreen:04 - On a date
:bulletgreen:05 - Kissing
:bulletgreen:06 - Wearing eachothers’ clothes
:bulletgreen:07 - Cosplaying
:bulletgreen:08 - Shopping
:bulletgreen:09 - Hanging out with friends
:bulletgreen:10 - With animal ears
:bulletgreen:11 - Wearing kigurumis     Kigurumi
:bulletgreen:12 - Making out
:bulletgreen:13 - Eating icecream
:bulletgreen:14 - Genderswapped
:bulletgreen:15 - In a different clothing style (Visual Kei, gyaru, lolita, ect. )
:bulletgreen:16 - During their morning ritual(s)
:bulletgreen:17 - Spooning
:bulletgreen:18 - Doing something together (this can be anything from watching tv to having sex.  Just remember to tag appropriately.)
:bulletgreen:19 - In formal wear
:bulletgreen:20 - Dancing
:bulletgreen:21 - Cooking/baking
:bulletgreen:22 - In battle, side-by-side
:bulletgreen:23 - Arguing
:bulletgreen:24 - Making up afterwards
:bulletgreen:25 - Gazing into eachothers’ eyes
:bulletgreen:26 - Getting married
:bulletgreen:27 - On one of their birthdays
:bulletgreen:28 - Doing something ridiculous
:bulletgreen:29 - Doing something sweet
:bulletgreen:30 - Doing something hot (once again, be sure to tag if you make it extremely NSFW!)
:star:
I created a little list of 31 writing prompts (because thirty is even, and I don't fancy even numbers, though they were necessary to create the list below... /shudder/). feel free to try it out! challenge yourself. it's a good way to spark creativity. I'll be doing it as well (:

01. letter
02. sticks and stones
03. birthday
04. immortal
05. circus
06. abandoned
07. nosebleed
08. mother [or father, or both]
09. sunrise
10. distraction
11. habit
12. fuck
13. love
14. waste
15. skinny
16. eyes
17. white noise
18. impulse
19. addiction
20. desecrate
21. death
22. low
23. heartbeat
24. first kiss
25. tomorrow
26. sweet
27. fog [or mist]
28. can't
29. village
30. time
31. forget

:heart:

i was inspired by the one-hundred themes challenge: 100themeschallenge.deviantart.…
Good vs. Evil
    

The conflict of good vs. evil is one that's universally known. Can good exist without evil? Can evil exist without good? Are they opposites, or one in the same? Is the battle between light vs. dark, order vs. chaos, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader, or PC vs. Mac? deviantART and Wacom invite you to get your creative juices flowing and artistically interpret your version of bringing good vs. evil to life!

DeviantART and Wacom are proud to present the Intuos4 "Bring Your Vision to Life" contest. With the theme "Good vs. Evil", the contest is open to artists of all mediums anywhere in the world. The "Bring Your Vision to Life" contest challenges you to use your creative vision to show us your interpretation of the epic battle between good and evil. You have the chance to win a sleek new "Intuos4", cold hard cash, and tons of other great stuff!

Summon your artistic abilities, engage the theme "Good vs. Evil", and bring your vision to life. Your entry will be judged on its originality, creativity, and technique. You get a second chance if the community picks your entry as the best!

How
  • Think about the theme "Good Vs. Evil"
  • Create an amazing piece of art in any medium
  • Upload your submission as a jpg, gif, or png file
  • There is a special Community Choice winner based on the entry with the highest number of fav favs received between 12:00:00 AM (PT) May 29, 2009 and 11:59:59 PM (PT) June 4, 2009 , so be sure to get all you friends involved and come back to vote!

See Official Rules for details

Also, please welcome Wacom to deviantART! Head on over to their Profile Page to check out the beautiful ads Wacom created to promote the new Intuos4, leave them a note welcoming them to the neighborhood, and connect with other Wacom users.

        
            
          The Prizes Prize Bundle

There are three prizes from the judges and one prize from the community!

1st Prize 2nd and 3rd Prize Community Prize

In addition, each semi-finalist will receive a one-month subscription to deviantART!

See Official Rules for details
* depending on availability

         
     Graphic 2 Contest Rules          

Entry must be received by 11:59:59 PM PST on May 19, 2009 and be submitted to the Contest gallery on www.deviantart.com "click here."

  • Entrants must be 13 years or older to participate;
  • Contest open to all deviants everywhere;
  • Entries must be submitted in one of the following file formats: GIF/PNG/JPG, but may originate in any medium;
  • Entries must not have been previously published or won any other prize/award;
  • You may submit more than one entry;
  • Online entries only, hard copies not accepted;
  • Entry may not use any watermarks or distingushing artist marks
  • Any attempt to create false "favorites" or to use in any way accounts which are not genuine for the purpose of generating "favorites" will result in disqualification.
See Official Rules for details

You must be a member of deviantART.com to enter. Membership is free.

The Judging

Your work will be judged on the basis of creativity, originality, and technique.

First, second, and third prize winners will be selected by a judging panel consisting of Wacom worldwide staff including Wacom's Global Evangelist Manager, Wacom's Manager of Corporate Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as Wacom's Director of Marketing Communications for the Americas.

See Official Rules for details

    
Submit Your Work                    

No One Cares About Your Story

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 12, 2013, 4:21 PM

GOOD NEWS: This is perfectly normal!


I can't remember the source, but a few years ago I read this famous author's account of how it felt to have his first book come out, and he mentioned buying a copy himself because he was afraid no one would take an interest. Now this is a guy who managed to get not only an agency but a publisher (which is a whole pile of people who were like yesplz), and he's still afraid readers won't care. I was like, 'whoa mind blown.'

But anyway, the fact is that we are all strangers on the Internet and, by default, there is no reason for you to read my stuff or vice-versa. If you went and stood in Times Square with copies of your latest story, how many people would give you more than a passing glance? And how many of those people would get to the end of your work, and how many of those would offer critical feedback?

And, if you were one of the passersby, whom would you stop for?



Okay, I'm done scaring the shit out of you. That's not the point of this journal, the point is to look at ways to make people care. Success not guaranteed.



How to Make People Care About Your Story


I had this long-ass spiel planned (and drafted, even), but honestly it all just boils down to respect.



1. Respect your readers.

Don't try to lord your cleverness over them, or expect them to automatically be as invested in your work as you are (did they spend twenty hours every week agonising over writing it? No they did not). Keep in mind that these are people with lives, and it's quite possible they have just as much of their own material to freak out over.

So how do you get them past that? By a) being a good writer and b) taking an interest in their lives.

Don't expect everything to fall into your lap. Communication goes both ways. I mean, how many times have you left a great critique that someone really appreciated and then did nothing with? It's happened to me more than once, and each successive time has soured me on bothering with more of that person's work. I still leave Goodreads reviews without expecting a pat on the head, so a well-done piece of work does outrank a 'wah wah this person was a jerk,' but unless you are 100% sure that you are that talented genius, don't be a dick.

FYI, it's never a 100% thing.



2. Respect the craft.

Everyone learns how to write in school.

Everyone learns how to write for school in school.

You may be one of those lucky bastards with a creative writing elective or even majoring in the field, but that's the exception, not the rule.

Creative writing is its own discipline, and getting an A in English class has little to do with it. I don't get how so many people equate being okay at writing essays or reading analysis with writing stories, but yeah. Stop doing that.

Yes, you can translate skills from one side to the other, and being able to analyse what you're reading is always important, but respect the fact that creative writing is as much an art form as drawing, and that if holding a pencil doesn't make you a master of drawing, being able to type words isn't going to toss creative writing into your lap, either.

Aside from this, you need to want to improve. I mentioned 'being a good writer' above, so it's even tied into respecting your audience, but if you really care about this being a thing that defines you, you have to be willing to do your own research. No excuses. Learn to use Google. Listen to good advice even if it feels like a slap on the bum.



3. Respect yourself.

Your words don't define you as a person, okay? Me telling you that your story is flawed shouldn't make you feel bad, it should make you want to do better. There's nothing wrong with caring about your work, but there is something wrong with treating every word of criticism like a stab wound. And with thinking that you're hopeless, the fact that you weren't a child genius is going to screw you over, you can never be awesome, blah blah blah.

(I want my writing to be perfect so it reflects well on me. Why? Because my ego is the size of a fucking mountain.)

You're not ink on paper. You're a person. Words are your medium of choice to showcase yourself, your ideas, and/or your views. There's no way it's going to be perfect from the beginning, and when someone tells you where you've gone wrong, pay close attention. Not because they're somehow better than you, but because wanting to be the best you can be means hunting down all your weaknesses.

Get your chin up and make your writing as awesome as your self.




GOOD LUCK, NERDS.





Lackadaisy - Patreon

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 1:24 PM

I've recently left my job in the game industry so that I could focus more of my time and attention on Lackadaisy.  Patreon is my weapon of choice in trying to see this to fruition.

If more Lackadaisy comic updates, illustrations, tutorials, mini-comics, books and other things interests you, please do check it out!

Support Lackadaisy on Patreon


Notes on Character Design


I received the question pictured below at my tumblr blog.  In case it's useful to anyone here, I decided to go ahead and use this otherwise dormant journal to share the article I put together in response.


character design question


Character design and drawing are tome-sized topics and even if I had all the answers (I don't - I have a lot to learn), I'm not sure I could communicate them effectively. Here are some thoughts an ideas that might help, though.


First, some general things...

- Relax.
Let some of that anxiety go. This isn't a hard science. There's no wrong way, no rigid process you must adhere to, no shoulds or shouldn'ts except those you designate for yourself. This is one of the fun parts of being an artist, really - have a heady good time with it.

- Be patient.
A design is something gradually arrived at. It takes time and iteration and revision. You'll throw a lot of stuff away, and you'll inevitably get frustrated at times, but bear in mind the process is both inductive and deductive. Drawing the wrong things is part of the path toward drawing the right thing.

cat sketches

- Learn to draw.
It might seem perfunctory to say, but I'm not sure everyone's on the same page about what this means. Learning to draw isn't a sort of rote memorization process in which, one by one, you learn a recipe for humans, horses, pokemon, cars, etc. It's much more about learning to think like an artist, to develop the sort of spacial intelligence that lets you observe and effectively translate to paper, whatever the subject matter. When you're really learning to draw, you're learning to draw anything and everything. Observing and sketching trains you to understand dimension, form, gesture, mood, how anatomy works, economy of line; all of the foundational stuff you will also rely on to draw characters from your imagination. So, spend some time honing your drawing ability. Hone it with observational sketching. Hone it good.

  • I don't think I've ever seen anyone do this sort of thing better than Claire Wendling. In fact, character designs emerge almost seamlessly from her gestural sketches. It'd be worth looking her up.

- Gather inspiration like a crazed magpie.
What will ultimately be your trademark style and technique is a sort of snowball accumulation of the various things you expose yourself to, learn and draw influence from. To that effect, Google images, tumblr, pinterest and stock photo sites are your friends. When something tingles your artsy senses - a style, a shape, a texture, an appealing palette, a composition, a pose, a cool looking animal, a unique piece of apparel, whatever - grab it. Looking at a lot of material through a creative lens will make you a better artist the same way reading a lot of material makes a better writer.
It'll also devour your hard drive and you will try and fail many times to organize it, but more importantly, it'll give you a lovely library of ideas and motivational shinies to peruse when you're conjuring characters.

- Imitate.
It's a powerful learning tool. Probably for many of us, drawing popular cartoon characters was the gateway habit that lured us into the depraved world of character design to begin with. I wouldn't suggest limiting yourself to one style or neglecting your own inventions to do this, but it's an effective way to limber up, to get comfortable drawing characters in general, and to glean something from the thought processes of other artists.

- Use references.
Don't leave it all up to guessing. Whether you're trying to design something with realistic anatomy or something rather profoundly abstracted from reality, it's helpful in a multitude of ways to look at pictures. When designing characters, you can infer a lot personality from photos, too.
horse reference horses

And despite what you might have heard, having eyeballs and using them to look at things doesn't constitute cheating. There's no shame in reference material. There's at least a little shame in unintentional abstractions, though.

shame


Concepts and Approach:

- Break it down
Sometimes you have the look of a character fleshed out in your mind before putting it to paper, but usually not. That doesn't mean you have to blow your cortical fuses trying conceive multiple diverse designs all at the same time, though. You don't even have to design the body shape, poses, face, and expressions of a single character all at once. Tackle it a little at a time.

The cartoony, googly eyed style was pre-established for the simple mobile game goblin character below, but I still broke it into phases. Start with concepts, filter out what you like until you arrive at a look, experiment with colors, gestures and expressions.

Carl the goblin accountant cyber-monkey-death-bots


- Start with the general and work toward the specific.
Scribbling out scads of little thumbnails and silhouettes to capture an overall character shape is an effective way begin - it's like jotting down visual notes. When you're working at a small scale without agonizing over precision and details, there's no risk of having to toss out a bunch of hard work, so go nuts with it. Give yourself a lot of options.

Above sample silhouettes from an old cancelled project in which I was tasked with designing some kind of cyber monkey death bot. I scratched out some solid black shapes then refined some of them a step or two further.



Design:

- Shapes are language.
They come preloaded with all sorts of biological, cultural and personal connotations. They evoke certain things from us too. If you’re ever stuck about where to go with your design, employ a sort of anthroposcopy along these lines - make a visual free association game out of it. It’ll not only tend to result in a distinguished design, but a design that communicates something about the nature of the character.

Think about what you infer from different shapes. What do they remind you of? What personalities or attitudes come to mind? How does the mood of a soft curve differ from that of a sharp angle? With those attributes attached, how could they be used or incorporated into a body or facial feature shape? What happens when you combine shapes in complementary or contrasting ways? How does changing the weight distribution among a set of shapes affect look and feel? Experiment until a concept starts to resonate with the character you have in mind or until you stumble on something you like.

Lucky Charms rejects


If you don’t have intent, take the opposite approach - draw some shapes and see where they go. (It’s stupid fun.)

monster shapes


- Cohesion and Style.
As you move from thumbnails to more refined drawings, you can start extrapolating details from the general form. Look for defining shapes, emergent themes or patterns and tease them out further, repeat them, mirror them, alternate them. Make the character entirely out of boxy shapes, incorporate multiple elements of an architectural style, use rhythmically varying line weights - there are a million ways to do this

Here's some of the simple shape repetition I've used for Lackadaisy characters.

And for potato shaped characters, use potato shaped shapes.

- Expressions.
Let them emerge from your design. If your various characters have distinguishing features, the expressions they make with those features will distinguish them further. Allow personality to influence expressions too, or vice versa. Often, a bit of both happens as you continue drawing - physiognomy and personality converge somewhere in the middle.

For instance, Viktor’s head is proportioned a little like a big cat. Befitting his personality, his design lets him make rather bestial expressions. Rocky, with his flair for drama, has a bit more cartoon about him. His expressions are more elastic, his cheeks squish and deform and his big eyebrows push the boundaries of his forehead. Mitzi is gentler all around with altogether fewer lines on her face. The combination of her large sleepy eyes and pencil line brow looked a little sad and a little condescending to me when I began working out her design - ultimately those aspects became incorporated into her personality.

expressions


I discuss expression drawing in more detail here (click the image for the link):

expressions

- Poses.
Rendering poses is another one of those things for which observational/gesture drawing comes in handy. Even if you’re essentially scribbling stick figures, you can get a handle on natural looking, communicative poses this way. Stick figure poses make excellent guidelines for plotting out full fledged character drawings too.

Look for the line of action. It’ll be easiest to identify in poses with motions, gestures and moods that are immediately decipherable. When you’ve learned to spot it, you can start reverse engineering your own poses around it.

line of action

- Additional resources.
Here are some related things about drawing poses and constructing characters (click the images for the links).

expressions


expressions


Lastly…

Tortured rumination about lack of ability/style/progress is a near universal state of creative affairs. Every artist I have known and worked with falls somewhere on a spectrum between frustration in perpetuity and a shade of fierce ongoing contrition that'd make Arthur Dimmesdale wince. So, next time you find yourself constructing a scourge out of all those crusty acrylic brushes you failed to clean properly, you loathsome, deluded hack, you, at least remember you’re not alone in feeling that way. When it’s not crushing the will to live out of you, the device does have its uses - it keeps you self-critical and locked in working to improve mode. If we were all quite satisfied with our output, I suppose we’d be out of reasons to try harder next time.

When you need some reassurance, compare old work to new. Evolution is gradual and difficult to perceive if you’re narrowed in on the nearest data point, but if you’ve been steadily working on characters for a few months or a year, you’ll likely see a favorable difference between points A and B.

Most of all, don’t dwell on achieving some sort of endgame in which you’re finally there as a character artist. There’s no such place - wherever you are, there is somewhere else. It’s a moving goal post. Your energy will be better spent just enjoying the process…and that much will show in the results.

Jeff The Killer: Sweet dreams are made of screams by Anyerina

okay so this is my first fanfic so don't be too harsh on me. but either way, I hope you like it.

(f/c) favorite color, (y/n) your name, (h/l) hair length ,(h/c) hair color


Your P.O.V

It was a normal day for you but you couldn't shake this feeling that you were getting watched but you shake it off because you knew your overprotective dad would freak out about it. So right after you did you took a shower, you put on a white tank top,(f/c) sleeveless hoodie, headphones, light blue ripped-up jeans, and black and(f/c) converse. You had your (h/l), (h/c) down and straight but messy so your dad won't freak out ;to think you don't do it for a boy. Right after you ate breakfast, you skateboard to school before you got tackled by your best friend, Isaiah. He was like a brother to you and had mostly everything in common with him, but you dad thinks he's the 'bad influence'. Isaiah screamed right in your ear

"(Y/N)!!!!!! DID YOU SEE THE NEWS?!"

you shake your head"No......why? what did you do this time?!"

 "The Daniels just died last night from-"

"Jeff the Killer I know" you interrupted getting annoyed.

 You didn't hate the killer but he was a giant problem for your dad, the sheriff of your town. He's the reason you have cops watching you every second in your life.So right after you finished talking about the news, Isaiah walked but you skateboard right next him to school. You looked all sad and when Isaiah saw it, he stopped you and grabbed your shoulders

"What's with you? You don't look happy at all but scared....Is it because of JEF-"

 "No, it just something bothering me. that's all" you said

"OH, well.... what's wrong?!"he said all worried.

 "I just...I fell like I'm getting watched" you sighed.

 Isaiah rolled his eyes and said" (y/n) you always watched by cops, your dad, and by cameras everywhere. So...don't be sad, show that smile of yours " he said trying to put a smile on your face.

"Yeah you're right, thanks " you said, smiling going to school.

 Jeff's P.O.V

I saw (y/n) walking with that boy again. Isaiah, what a stupid name to have but I can't kill him with him always with (y/n) there. I want her to see me but not like this and what bothers me the most about her is her dad.

 'God I hate her dad' 

When I saw her beautiful smile she has, it made me smile even more than ever. When she left around corner, I decided to check out her house. So, I went to her window and a good thing her dad wasn't home. I unlocked her window and got in and never saw any sign of anyone there.

 'Perfect' I looked around her room and saw no sign of being girly.

 'what I girl' I thought.

 So after messing with her stuff, I sat on her bed but heard no squeaking. usually I hear squeaking all the time when killing but thank god this one doesn't. I looked up at the ceiling and thought about (y/n) and what she's doing. I was calm until I heard the front door open and found out it was her dad

'oh shit!' I thought and jumped out the window and hid for 5 minutes to see he came back to get something in his hands, the house keys. I was laughing so loud and I didn't noticed him coming my way

.......to be continued..........